There’s a lot of awareness toward animal rights and animal cruelty in the United States, there are plenty of animal rights organizations that help us the public learn about what happens to animals when we don’t know or see. But some activist make the safety of animals their priority in life, even to the point to put them in danger to do what they think is correct. Timothy Treadwell, also known as Grizzly Man, did just that. Being a hardcore activist living with grizzlies in order to protect them from what he called “the evils of men”.
According to Anthrozoologist like Hal Herzog, the author of “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat”, Timothy Treadwell’s behavior can be explained by his past life struggles, his over love for bears, and his eagerness to take action. How does someone go from being an actor to a bear enthusiast? Treadwell’s occupation is stated as being an actor because that’s what he studied for, but it was something that he didn’t get lucky in and therefor became a frustrated actor.
The truth about Treadwell is that before you found his “calling” he was a very lost and unhappy person, in some of his footage saying “Nobody friggin’ knew that there are times when my life has been on the precipice of death”. Treadwell after becoming alcoholic survived a near-fatal heroin overdose making him realize that he had to do something in his life that was meaningful and that’s where the grizzlies changed his life.
Hal Herzog says “animal activism can give meaning and purpose to a person’s life” (Herzog 242), after hiding bottom Treadwell needed to figure out what else he had to do where he wouldn’t be judged, rejected, and ashamed by anyone. When Treadwell met his first bear, he found his calling, he found his meaning in life, he now knew what his purpose was and that was to live among the brown bears. Because of his past situations and disappointments, being alone in the wild with creatures that wouldn’t mind having him around and where curious about him made him feel safe.
In the film Treadwell shares how he can’t wait to return to Alaska when he leaves, he enjoyed being out there because that was his safe zone in life away from all ‘evil’. That safe zone with the bears kept Treadwell at piece and gave him an identity, Hal Herzog giving an example of activist that are lost in the world and once they find something worth fighting for they find themselves and gain an identity. Treadwell’s identity was Grizzly Man, his identity gave him power and strength that helped him throughout the ears with living with bears for 13 summers. There’s a saying that states “love kills” and you could say that about Timothy Treadwell’s death, being attacked and eaten by the very animal that he love the most makes you wonder why anyone could pass logic and follow their heart. Throughout Werner Herzog’s film Treadwell shouts, cries, and expresses how much he loves grizzly bears, “I will die for these animals! I will die for these animals!
I will die for these animals! ” he said. Hal Herzog explains in a chapter that sometimes instead of following our heads we believe we should follow our hearts because that will lead us to happiness, “Our hearts are even more prone to error than our heads”(Herzog 260). Treadwell’s heart was bears and helping the bears, but because of the obsessive love he had turned into the willingness to go against his logic of living with wild animals.
He believed that bears were his friends; he told them he loved them and even petted them, Treadwell didn’t care about anything else besides his friends in the wild whom he loved and was willing to die for them and did die because of one. His powering love that he had for these animals, the living things that had saved his life and brought so much happiness, was a reason why he decided to leave humans and life in solitude with bears. “I am the Lord’s humble servant. I am Allah’s disciple… there has been an absolute miracle.
It has rained 1. 65 inches of rain today” Treadwell said after a long drought affecting the animals. Treadwell’s love drove him to take action but his eagerness to go every summer and spend months alone, his ambition, desire, and anxiousness to be with bears was from his passion to return the favor. “The moral commitment of activists shows up in many different ways… Sometimes the burden just gets too heavy” (Herzog 245), Treadwell felt like he owned his life to the bears that he had a commitment to them and was never to break it.
After saving his internal and physical self he needed to protect them and he did as much as he could, he looked after the animals as if they were his family and when it got hard he just took it out on himself and never on the animals because Treadwell believed humans were the problem not the bears. Treadwell wanted to accomplish what no other person could do and that was to live within wild animals that had the strength to kill anyone, and his ambition drove him to take action, his love and commitment to the grizzly bears.
Timothy Treadwell’s death was horrific and not shocking at all because most people did except that to happen, if you asked anyone what they thought of Treadwell decision to live with grizzlies they’d probably say he was crazy. But the truth is that he was crazy but crazy in love, in love with the animals that had given him a purpose in life and had saved him from his past. Timothy Treadwell didn’t want harm for anyone or for anything, he just wanted to express his gratitude and love to the animals that had changed his life forever.